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"'''Sitting on a man'''" is a method employed by [[Igbo people|Igbo]] women of [[public humiliation|publicly shaming]] a man by convening upon his hut or workplace; women may dance, sing songs detailing grievances with his behavior, beat on the walls of his home with yam pestles, or, occasionally, tear the roof from his home.<ref name="CJAS">{{cite journal|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith|date=1972|title="Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|url=http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/amcdouga/Hist247/winter%202010/additional%20rdgs/sitting_on_man.pdf|journal=Canadian Journal of African Studies|volume=6|issue=2|pages=165-181|via=}}</ref>
The practice is also referred to as "making war on" a man and may be employed against women as well.<ref>{{cite book|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith|title=Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change|date=1976|publisher=Stanford University Press|isbn=978-0-8047-6624-1|pages=61–62|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=pWffQVU85ccC&lpg=PA61&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22&pg=PA61#v=onepage&q&f=false|chapter='Aba Riots' or Igbo 'Women's War'? Ideology, Stratification and the Invisibility of Women}}</ref> "Sitting on a man", along with strikes and various other resistance methods, ultimately functioned as a tool for women to maintain balance of both social and political power throughout pre-colonial times; however, this status would be negatively impacted by colonialismcolonial rule.<ref name="CJAS" />
== History ==
There were multiple reasons a man could be subjected to the practice of "sitting on a man". If a man was found mistreating his wife, allowing his cows to eat the women's crops, breaking the rules of the market, or causing marital disputes, women would collectively consult with the mikiri (a forum which gave women the opportunity to gather for political, kinship, and market regulation issues) and if it gave support to the woman making the grievance, and they would employ the practice.<ref name="CJAS" /> Women would wear ferns on their heads and don loincloths. They would paint their faces with charcoal and carry sticks wreathed with palm fronds.<ref>{{cite book|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=Hyr9pwbqeqoC&lpg=PA287&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22&pg=PA287#v=onepage&q&f=false|title=From Eve to Dawn: Revolutions and the struggles for justice in the 20th century|last1=French|first1=Marilyn|date=2008|publisher=Feminist Press at CUNY|isbn=978-1-55861-628-8|location=New York|page=287}}</ref> Such a display of solidarity among women reinforced their influential role in society, offered access to autonomy throughout pre-colonial times, and lent itself as an effective measure to enact change.<ref name=":0">{{Cite book|title="Sitting On A Man":Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|last=Judith|first=Allen|publisher=Canadian Association of African Studies|year=|isbn=|location=|pages=171|quote=|via=}}</ref>
== ColoniaColonial rule ==
=== Resistance ===
In the early twentieth century, women in [[Colonial Nigeria]] organized protests in response to political reforms regarding the Native Administration."Sitting" on [[Eze|Warrant Chiefs]] was a prominent method of resistance. The [[Women's War]] was a significant demonstration of the adaptation of "sitting on a man" in efforts of resistance from imposed [[indirect rule]] in Colonial Nigeria.<ref>{{cite book|last1=Sheldon|first1=Kathleen|title=Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa|date=2005|publisher=Scarecrow Press|location=Lanham (Maryland)|isbn=978-0-8108-5331-7|page=228|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=36BViNOAu3sC&lpg=PA228&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22%20igbo&pg=PA228#v=onepage&q&f=false|chapter=Sitting on a Man}}</ref> Protests would often consist of singing and dancing around homes and offices, invading personal spaces, and other actions which demanded the attention of the [[Eze|Warrant Chief]]s. Wives of the local colonial representatives were often disturbed by this form of protest and aided in encouraging Warrant Chiefs to adhere to the requests and demands of the women. "Sitting on the Warrants," became a widespread colonial resistance tactic utilized by women in Nigeria.
=== Effects ===
During Precolonial​pre-colonial times, Igbo women held significant social and political standings while still second to men, this allowed them to engage and influence the politics of their village in some shape or form. During colonizationcolonial rule, however, the idea of excluding women from political settings and activities, despite resistance, grew among the Igbo people. The missionaries who had come to the region had begun to change the role of women in the Igbo society as their purpose was to train the women to be good Christian Wiveswives and Mothersmothers first and foremost. These Christian values also prohibited the use of Pagan rituals which included the ''Mikiri,'' taking away the one way in which Igbo women would traditionally engage in Politics and created a form of invisibility that denied them anyway to air their grievances. Politics were seen as Men'sa realm of men and any woman who could engage was seen as having the "brain of a man" which was very rare. Schooling became a huge part of Igbo life as well as necessary for a political career and unfortunately for most young girls they were often overlooked in favor of the boys in the family, and those that did go were not given the same education as their male counterparts. Instead of being taught anything that could further a career in politics, they were taught European domestic skills and the [[Bible]]. The missionaries were not against women in politics as many supported women's suffrage, but in Africa, the church was the biggest priority was creating Christian Families which did not prioritize women politicians at the time.
By altering the social institutions it negatively affected women's rights and status in society by de-legitimizing their means of influence. The criminalization of the Mikiri was not necessarily deliberate, as colonistsEuropean officials and missionaries were naïveunaware of the functions and implications of the practice as they were socialized with a Victorianrestrictive ideology that had no place for women to engage in politics. Unfortunately, by disturbing women's means of balancing power, colonialismcolonial rule detrimentally affected Igbo gender relations and societal structures. Women no longer had the ability to affect the way that trade was performed or even defend themselves against any form of abuse enacted from the men of their villages. This left many Igbo women in a vulnerable state of subservience and created a society where their traditional roles had comebecome undone.<ref name=":0" /><br />
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